In A Nutshell
To be succinct, at Wheat Ridge Presbyterian Church, you can expect to be welcome and to belong. Folks will say, “hello” and want get to know you, but you can also be private if that is what you need. Wear what feels comfortable to you—there are people in jeans, skirts, t-shirts, blazers, and the occasional Broncos jersey. The order of the worship service usually follows a traditional Reformed pattern, and there is always an effort to keep the music, preaching, and prayers fresh and relevant to the needs of the world. At WRPC, there is an acknowledgement of the pain and brokenness in the world, a sharing of joys and concerns, and a mutual reliance on God’s radically inclusive love to give hope, even in difficult times. You can count on a time of fellowship with coffee, treats to eat and good conversation. In the summer, WRPC worships in the Outdoor Worship Center Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend (weather permitting, and it almost always does), with communion services inside on the first Sunday of June, July, and August. Wear layers and come ready to enjoy a mountain view and a relaxed atmosphere.
The church building is located about half a mile west of Lutheran Medical Center on West 38th Avenue. You will see an electronic sign at the main driveway. When you arrive at Wheat Ridge Presbyterian Church, you will find a small lower parking lot closer to W. 38th Avenue by the Fellowship Hall/Church Office entrance and a much larger parking lot just beyond the church building. There are plenty of spots designated as handicapped. If you have limited mobility but no handicap placard, still feel free to park there. A ramp or stairs lead into the worship space/sanctuary. You will see the wooden double doors facing the large lot. A city bus stop is also nearby on West 38th Ave.
Wheat Ridge Presbyterian Church
When you enter the building, you will be in a small lobby area called the narthex and probably see someone waiting to shake your hand to greet you. A small visitor’s desk has a guest book and a gift bag with information, some goodies, and a church mug—please pick up one and ask questions of the volunteer there.
There is an accessible restroom right off the narthex.
As you enter the sanctuary, an usher will offer you a worship bulletin (what would be called a program at a concert). This lists the order of service, prayers spoken by the congregation, hymn numbers, an announcement sheet, etc. There are large print bulletins and hymnals available from an usher. (See below about resources for children and youth.)
The information listed here is meant to give a sense of the logistics of the worship service, but at its heart, worship is gathering with others as you are, to praise God, to pray together for the world and loved ones, to hear scripture interpreted, to be challenged, nurtured, comforted, and called as those who seek to follow in the way of Jesus. This group experience not only deepens our connection with one another, it deepens our connection with God.
The worship bulletin lists what happens during the service. In the pew rack in front of you, you will find Bibles, the main blue hymnal, a slimmer dark blue hymnal supplement called Sing the Faith, envelopes for an offering, and some pamphlets with other information. At the end of each pew is a red folder called the friendship register; filling it out and passing it back and forth is a good way to learn the names of those worshipping near you. The first Sunday of each month, communion is offered. This is not a Presbyterian table or an American table, it is the Lord’s table, so all are welcome to partake as the Spirit leads.
Worship usually begins with a musical prelude—the start is marked by the ringing of a bell. Times you are invited to stand as you are able are indicated with an asterisk. The words in bold are for the entire congregation to speak and everyone is encouraged to sing along with the hymns, which are usually from the Presbyterian hymnal or supplement, but occasionally are printed on an insert. In most services, after the prelude, there is a time of announcements, a responsive call to worship, and an opening hymn. We then usually offer a prayer for renewal and are assured of God’s grace. After the sermon, there is usually an affirmation of faith, another hymn, spoken joys and concerns, prayers of the people, the offering with a musical offertory, a prayer of dedication, final hymn, benediction and postlude. See below for what is next!
Children and youth are always welcome at WRPC! They are a gift, and people know that that gift sometimes involves a bit of noise and mess—that is to be expected, so relax and enter worship knowing that children and youth are an important part of the WRPC family!
Families have several resources for younger worshippers:
- Children’s bulletins (ages 3-6 or 7-12) with puzzles and games around the main scripture, packs of crayons
- Some children’s books and toys in a basket in the narthex/lobby
- Youth activity bags
- Coos and cries are fine in worship, but if YOU want to leave the sanctuary because a little one is restless, the narthex/lobby has a large window into the sanctuary and sound piped in. It can be a good place to relax and let your little one wiggle and giggle without being seen and heard as much as in the sanctuary.
- Time with Children and Youth—in almost every service, children and youth are invited forward for a message tailored to them.
- Kids’ Kingdom—on non-communion Sundays, after the Time with Children and Youth, children aged 2 through 5th grade may go to a church classroom with two adult teachers for a lesson and craft. They will return to the worship service during the final hymn so that you can go to Fellowship Time together.
- Communion Sundays—since there is no Kids’ Kingdom program on communion Sundays, our Director of Christian Education sets up tables on the side aisle with coloring sheets and crayons. Children can sit there during the sermon and then return to their families so that they can share communion as a family.
Like many congregations, WRPC loves to share good food and conversation. After worship, there is almost always a time of fellowship in the appropriately named Fellowship Hall which can be reached from the sanctuary either by going down a hallway with two small sets of stairs or by using the ramp and sidewalk outside. When worship is in the Outdoor Worship Center in the summer, fellowship time is still held in the Fellowship Hall which is cooled by an evaporative cooler. A few times each summer, a church picnic gives yet another way to get to know each other.